Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The importance of vitamin D

Various symptoms of a severe vitamin D deficiency include falling, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, falling, high blood pressure/hypertension, depression, anxiety, ocd, insomnia, double vision, memory loss, loss of focus/concentration, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, imbalance, bowel incontinence, fibromyalgia, and other conditions.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to many diseases and problems not mentioned above including breast (and other types of ) cancer, osteoporosis, bone fragility, rickets, osteomalacia, rheumatoid arthritis, and other auto-immune diseases.

I received a letter from my rheumatologist yesterday that contained a prescription for 50,000 IUs of vitamin D once a week for eight weeks. He has diagnosed me with a severe vitamin D deficiency that demands immediate attention. I have an appointment with him tomorrow so I don't know yet what else he has to say about all of the tests he ran but at least I know now that I have a condition that is highly treatable and reversible.

Which brings me to the point wherein I give my anger to the internet.

I wish I could describe to you the amount of pain I have been through over the past few weeks while enduring extremely painful and invasive procedures to see if I have MS. I had to have a fucking spinal tap for gods sakes. I had to have needles hooked up to electrical currents slammed into my muscles and then push against them to measure my level of muscle weakness. I had to have electrodes attached to various nerves around my body to see if I have any nerve damage. I have been to FOUR doctors, three of them specialists, who have each tortured me with their MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, needles, "donating" over 30 vials of blood, painful examinations, electricity, poking, prodding, fear that I have some life-threatening disease, and for what? What was all of that for?

One blood test. One simple blood test that showed I was severely lacking vitamin D that explains EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE SYMPTOMS I have been experiencing since last August. One blood test.

Now I don't know yet what the results from all those other tests will be but I am livid that my primary care physician didn't immediately do a vitamin D test before jumping to MS.

Don't get me wrong. I hope to God that the only thing wrong with me is that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. But I'm still angry that I had to quit my job, drop out of school for the semester, live with extreme pain with every move I make for three months. Three months that I will never get back.

I loved my job. I loved the refugees. I grieve that I don't get to be with them anymore. My position has already been given to someone else and so the only hope I have for going back is to wait until someone quits.

And now my graduation will be set back even longer, which means I've lost valuable time with professors that have moved on and I won't get to graduate with most of the people I've been in classes with for the past three years.

One freaking blood test and it is possible that none of this would have happened. I'm sure that given a few more days and a little more perspective on the situation I will be able to accept it more graciously than I am right now. But still, one freaking blood test. It seems unbelievable to me.

1 comment:

Traivor said...

I would generously guess that the condition is rare enough, at least in this population, that it could be completely off the doctors' radars. I know at least 2 people with MS. I know of no other people that are vitamin D deficient.

Not that my observation is in any way statistically significant.

Let us all just hope that popping the vitamin D pills makes you all better.